How and where you choose to grow herbs is limited only by your imagination and, of course, by the needs and characteristics of the plants themselves. Most herb plants aren't too fussy about the soil they grow in as long as it's well drained. (If you're growing herbs simply for their ornamental flowers or foliage, give them fertile garden soil. Herbs grown for fragrance and flavor, however, are more pungent if they're grown in less fertile soil, so go easy on the fertilizer.)
Most herbs have fragrant or pungently flavored leaves or flowers that make them useful for cooking, crafts, natural remedies, potpourri, and more. Consider the following ways to use harvested herbs:
- Food and drink: Herbal teas offer alternatives to stronger brews, and no supper is complete without seasonings for soups and salads, meats, and vegetables.
- Fragrance: In the days before frequent bathing, central vacuum cleaners, and indoor plumbing, herbs played a large role in odor control. Today, aromatherapy, the art and science of affecting mood with scent, makes liberal use of dried herbs in little pillows and bowls of potpourri.
- Crafts: Herbs give color, structure, and fragrance to dried wreaths, arrangements, and other crafts. Some herbs lend their colors to fabrics and paints.
- Medicine: People have used herbs to treat every ailment known to mankind: headaches, depression, colds, general aches and pains, and so on. Check out Herbal Remedies For Dummies, by Christopher Hobbs (Wiley), for ways to use herbs as medicine. Laymen can safely use aromatic herbs to add zip or tranquilizing effects to ointments, massage oils, and baths.
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Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?
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